While most businesses have adopted Agile and continuous delivery to great success, adoption of DevOps methodology has been somewhat slower. Enterprises today are looking for the DevOps skillset without fully understanding what it stands for. The fact that DevOps has become a trendy term without a clear definition has made it easier for non-technical businesses to adopt a “do-it-yourself” approach, using free automation tools and hoping for the best. This approach rarely ends well; it leads to an increased chance of deployment errors and increased support costs.
But it doesn’t have to. Enterprises can pursue a DevOps strategy while using Agile and continuous delivery methodologies effectively and efficiently, integrating the best of both worlds to maximize productivity and minimize risk. This blog post will discuss how.
Why Agile And Continuous Delivery?
Agile and continuous delivery methodologies are all the rage today, but that doesn’t mean that everyone understands how they work. Essentially, Agile is a framework for developing and delivering software. Instead of following a strict plan and spending a set amount of time building a product, Agile enables teams to follow a set of values, which in turn enables them to be more creative and productive.
Continuous delivery is the practice of creating a single deliverable (such as a deployable software package or a functioning website) that can be released to production with minimal – and ideally, no – user intervention. It was originally designed to reduce the risk of a product meltdown, by enabling developers to detect and fix problems before the products are released to the public. This is usually done through some combination of automated testing and deployment.
Why does this approach work well with DevOps? Because regardless of whether you have completed a DevOps transformation or are just looking to adopt the practices, having a working knowledge of Agile and continuous delivery makes you that much more effective on a DevOps team.
What Is DevOps?
If you’re not familiar, DevOps (a combination of “development” and “operations”) is a software development approach focused on integrating the two. So instead of having a clearly defined “development” phase and a “testing” phase, where everything is separated, DevOps strives to create a continuous flow of feedback between the development and operations teams. This feedback allows for constant improvement of the product and consistent delivery of high-quality software.
What exactly does this approach entail? Well, the ideal DevOps team is incredibly collaborative, with developers and testers working together to identify and fix bugs before the release. The testing team (sometimes known as the build team) is responsible for ensuring that the software is functioning as intended, while the development team is focused on creating the best possible product.
Additionally, DevOps teams utilize various tools to track and monitor the software development process. These tools can help identify bottlenecks in the development cycle and even help find potential bugs before the code is written. Some examples of these tools include:
Git (software version control system) JIRA (issue tracking software) Hudson (build automation Cruise Control (scaling tool).
Ultimately, while DevOps has become somewhat of a buzzword over the past few years, it doesn’t mean that you have to be a fully-fledged member of a DevOps team to reap the benefits.
How Does Agile And Continuous Delivery Work Together?
As mentioned above, Agile is a framework for developing and delivering software. Essentially, it provides detailed guidelines for how to develop a product, as well as a set of values that promote creativity and continuous improvement. When used in combination with continuous delivery, Agile helps create a feedback loop throughout the development process, enabling continuous improvement and minimized risk. To learn more, check out the Agile Development tutorial video from Google Developers.
What this means for developers is that they no longer need to “wait for” a testing phase to begin after every build. Instead, continuous delivery enables programmers to constantly provide feedback to the development team, helping to improve the product along the way. The closer the feedback loop is, the better – especially in the world of DevOps, where stability and security are of paramount importance. As a result, frequent and consistent delivery of bug fixes and enhancements dramatically reduces the risk of a product meltdown.
How Do I Get Started With DevOps?
If you’re interested in pursuing a DevOps strategy, begin by defining what it means to you. Are you looking for a more traditional approach, where the focus is on large, multi-team projects? Or do you want to adopt a “scratch-an-itch” approach, where individuals are responsible for the continuous delivery of small features?
Deciding which approach to take will depend on your goals, as well as your existing skillset. If you’re a developer or an operations engineer, taking a more traditional approach, with larger teams and project management overhead, may be the best fit. But if you have the skillset and want to take a more DIY approach, experimenting with automated testing and deployment can help get you there quicker than you know it.